The World Bank announced Tuesday it is halting financial support to Afghanistan amid worries about the fate of women under Taliban rule, CNN reported.
The Afghan economy relies heavily on foreign aid and now faces rising food prices.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women,” World Bank spokesperson Marcela Sanchez-Bender said in a statement to CNN Business.
The World Bank has committed more than $5.3 billion for development projects in Afghanistan, according to the organization’s website. The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, administered by the World Bank, has raised more than $12.9 billion.
“We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation in line with our internal policies and procedures,” Sanchez-Bender said.
The World Bank said it will continue to consult with the international community and development partners.
The International Monetary Fund suspended Afghanistan’s access to IMF resources, including around $440 million in new monetary reserves, due to a lack of clarity over the country’s government after the Taliban took control of Kabul, Reuters reported on Thursday.
The IMF’s announcement came amid pressure from the US Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the fund, to ensure that Afghanistan’s share of a Special Drawing Rights reserves allocation scheduled for Monday not fall into Taliban hands.
“There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources,” an IMF spokesperson said in an emailed statement as quoted by Reuters.
“As is always the case, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community,” the spokesperson added.
According to the Reuters report, the fund has traditionally relied on its membership to decide whether to engage with governments that take power in coups or disputed elections.
Even if Afghanistan were to regain access to the SDRs, it would be unlikely the Taliban could spend those resources because that would require another country to be willing to exchange the SDRs for underlying currencies, a transaction that would likely be blocked by long-standing US financial sanctions against the Taliban, according to Reuters.